Living Abroad

This morning, while on the way to work, I saw a truck.  Not just any truck mind you, but a truck that looked like it carried fuel.  As I got closer, I saw it was a fire truck.  I snapped this picture with the intent of blogging about this later today.

Fire truck

In my mind, this truck epitomises what I’m going to write about.  Look at the truck and imagine seeing it from a distance.  What is the job of the truck?  By its general shape, I first guessed that it was a fuel truck (don’t ask me why I thought a fuel truck would be parked along the road in a residential section of town).  But then as I got closer, I saw the words FIRE on the front.  Obviously, the truck is meant to carry water so a fire can be put out.  But it doesn’t look like it.  It looks like a truck one might use to start a fire.  :^)

This is where much of the stress of living overseas–or for that matter just moving to a different town–comes from.  Things that look like one thing turn out to be something different.  And if you go looking for something, you may not find it because it doesn’t look like you expect.

This brings me to something important:  after moving over 21 times and living overseas for more than 5 years (as of 2012), moving is moving is moving.  Within the US you move and have to learn things:  where the hospital is, where the store is, what place has the cheapest gas, how to live without Skyline Chilli in a place where they’ve never heard of it (I know…can you imagine a place like that).  You just simply have to adjust.  Moving overseas is the same.

Before you say something like”but you live in a country where they speak English” let me remind you that we spend 2.5 years in Serbia where they didn’t.  Sure, that added a bit of stress, but, in general, the skills I learned moving 21+ times in the US helped me.  They also helped me help Cyndi.

TheArtOfCrossingCultures_StortiThis leads me to the best book I’ve ever read about moving abroad:  The Art of Crossing Cultures by Craig Storti.  In this book, Storti points out several things….my point being one of them.  Sure, there will be some extra stress brought on by what I mentioned above; however, once I remind myself that this isn’t America and things will be different, I’m good to go.

Storti also talks about other things.  I may write about that in the future.  If I do, this post will have a link to the new article.

The image to the left is from Amazon.

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